Synthesis and interfacial properties of sophorolipid derivatives

Lei Zhang, P. Somasundaran*, Sanjay K. Singh, Arthur P. Felse, Richard Gross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Biosurfactants made by fermentation from renewable resources provide "environmental friendly" processes and products. A natural sophorolipid mixture was produced by the yeast Candida bombicola when cultured on glucose and oleic acid. The sophorolipid mixture was chemically modified to form the corresponding sophorolipid alkyl (methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl) esters by reaction with the corresponding sodium alkoxides. Interfacial properties of these surfactants, such as surface tension reduction, aggregation, and adsorption, were systematically studied. It was found that the critical micelle concentration of sophorolipid esters decreases to about 1/2 per additional one CH2 group to the alkyl ester moiety. Interestingly, these surfactants were found to adsorb strongly on alumina but weakly on silica. They have properties that make them attractive candidates for uses in detergents, cosmetics, soil remediation, and enhanced oil recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jun 15 2004


  • Adsorption
  • Biosurfactants
  • Sophorolipid esters
  • Sophorolipids
  • Surface tension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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